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Douglaston Greenmarket faces uncertain future

Bryan Mesenbourg (l.) and his wife, Margaret, shop for carrots at the Newgate Farms stand during the last day this season for the Douglaston Greenmarket. Photo by Rich Bockmann
TimesLedger Newspapers

The city wrapped up the Douglaston Greenmarket this weekend, and though it was a hit with customers, the verdict is still out on whether or not it will return next year.

“We had a wonderful first season. It’s great to give our farmers a new market and for the customers to see what they have to offer,” said Jeanne Hodesh, a spokeswoman for GrowNYC’s Greenmarket program. “We will talk with our community partners and evaluate the market in December.”

Representatives from the greenmarket have to go before the local community board each year to seek approval for the market.

Attendance was sparse at the market on the north side of the LIRR station Sunday, and vendors had mixed reactions when they were asked how well they did over the season, which ran from July 10 to Nov. 20.

The tables of Newgate Farms had plenty of fresh butternut squash for sale, but John Sedor said the Connecticut farm did its best business at the height of the summer.

“We did our best toward the end of July when the tomatoes and corn were in. Everyone loves coming out for the summertime vegetables,” he said. “I hope we can come back next year.”

Tianna Kennedy said Lucky Dog Farm, which grows organic vegetables in upstate Delaware County, was decimated in August by Hurricane Irene, losing about 70 percent of its crop.

“It was about $200,000 [in damages from the storm], but the city markets kept us going,” she said. Lucky Dog also operates at two other green markets, and will open a stand at Union Square next week, she said.

Kennedy said she had formed great relationships with her customers.

“Half of my customers came up and gave me a big hug. Douglaston is a lovely community,” she said.

Joe, from Nature’s Way Farm, said business had been up and down throughout the season.

“Maybe it was the weather,” he said. “I don’t know where they were hiding.”

He said the farm, which sells honey produced by 325 bee hives in Lowman, N.Y., does better at the Jackson Heights market, where there is more foot traffic.

On the last day, Bryan Mesenbourg and his wife, Margaret, were stocking up on carrots for a vegetable soup and pears they planned to poach.

It was the first time the couple from Ridgewood had ever been to Douglaston.

“We wanted to go to a market and this was one of the only ones open on Sunday,” Bryan said.

The two said they also planned to visit the Armenian Society of NY in Little Neck, which was hosting a food festival.

“I like Douglaston; it’s cool around here,” said Bryan. “There’s a lot of nice old houses.”

Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at rbockmann@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.

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